We dream of a world where music is here for everyone, connecting us, inspiring us, and bringing joy and meaning wherever it goes. We are having our Fall fund drive here at ACG and it’s because of our community and supporters that we are able to share stories like this. Click here to learn more about supporting ACG.

How do we make change?

It’s all about people. As I reach the start of my twenty-eighth year with ACG this simple truth is clearer to me than ever before. 

We’ll invest just over $1.6 million in our community programming this season, and today as we enter the final weeks of our Fall Fund Drive, I wanted to share a few thoughts about what we’re investing in, and why.

At ACG we make positive change in the world through a combination of two things: beauty + kindness. 

Beauty is like our organizing principle. It’s the reason we get together, for a concert or class or rehearsal. In the aim of making beautiful things – and this extends to art, food, and the Rosette itself – we find our medium for togetherness, our reason to gather and wonder and celebrate. Kindness, however, is the magical force that lifts and inspires us. Kindness is why we return year after year, its why we give, its why thousands of kids courageously apply themselves and take chances, day after day in our classes.

We’ll spend close to $500,000 on our artistic productions this season, but really that’s an investment in people. We’ll hire composers, arrangers, performers, sound and lighting technicians, and the managers and caterers needed to make it all work.

I began doing this when I was 20 years old, and ringing in my ears at the time was the caring conventional wisdom that you can’t make money as an artist. I set out to change that. When you read about artists struggling with housing and healthcare as they play for tips, I’m proud to say that’s not what happens at ACG. We’ve grown from having no articulated budget, to become the largest classical guitar talent buyer in the history of our nation. And that means consistent, meaningful employment for a lot of people.

And we’ll spend nearly a million dollars on our education and healing programs, which is an investment in the amazing teachers, directors, healers and performers who build our school programs, run our community ensembles, and bring music to places where it’s urgently needed.

It’s in this space of nurturing, that the role of kindness is profound. There’s a secret sauce at the heart of ACG education. Yes, we teach music literacy and skills to play guitar, but there’s a reason our systems have spread all across the nation and beyond. There’s a reason close to 4,000 kids are playing guitar in our central Texas school programs each day. There’s a reason we have 13 years of peerless success engaging incarcerated youth. We devised a whole theory and training system, actually, that you can learn about here. But the main thing to know today is that it’s all about kindness. And kindness, is all about people.

Where does our funding come from? Well, that’s all about people and kindness, too. About two-thirds of ACG revenue is contributed, and that comes from a combination of foundation sources and from individuals like you who believe in us. The other third comes from “earned revenue” – things like ticket sales, Rosette rentals, workshop and ensemble registrations, and schools that pay for our curriculum systems and training.

I’m incredibly proud of our team and I’m incredibly grateful to our many friends like you who make it all possible. Each week I hear about students in our scholarship programs who are overcoming challenges with just a little bit of support, I hear about struggling teachers in our nationwide network who are improving thanks to the patient coaching of our experts, I hear from artists near and far who are hoping to get involved in our thoughtfully designed artworks, and I hear from community leaders who want advice about building similar organizations wherever they live. All these things happen because of a combination of beauty + kindness, delivered by people who care, and who are paid professionally to do the intricate work they’re uniquely qualified to do. 

Thank you for helping make it all possible. Thank you for believing in us, and in the power of music to do good in the world. If you have any questions at all about how we do what we do, the big plans we have for the future, or how you might be able to get more involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]

In gratitude,

Matt Hinsley, Executive Director